June 29, 2020

Henry Johnson the Harlem Hellfighter

TALES OF VALOR HALF-HISTORY: Henry Johnson | Thankfully President Barack Obama finally awarded William Henry Johnson (commonly known as just Henry) the Medal of Honor in 2015. To say that it was a long time coming would be a massive understatement. Henry Johnson was a real life Rambo who fought off a German raid in hand to hand combat in 1918 in the Argonne Forest in France. 

While race was an issue in 1918 America, the sentiment from the French differed. Johnson was awarded the Croix de Guerre with star and bronze palm by the French, despite the color of his skin and wa sth first U.S. Soldier in WW1 to receive such an honor.

Johnson died, poor and in obscurity, in 1929. From 1919 on, Henry Johnson's story has been part of wider consideration of treatment of African Americans in the Great War. His story deserves to be told and remembered!

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